Interview: Robert Jeffress on Renewal, Religious Liberty and the Last Days

My Conversation with the Pastor of First Baptist Dallas and Author of Countdown to the Apocalypse

By James Robison Published on April 16, 2015

James:

I appreciate the conviction and clarity with which you share the truths essential to freedom – and the foundation stones: the principles and standards. You encourage us to line up with those standards and not move them to accommodate the actions of any person or to in any way approve practices that are contrary to those standards.

The book you’ve written, Countdown to the Apocalypse, is very important today. What’s the primary thing you want your book to accomplish?

Robert:

Christians need to be aware of the world in which they are living so they can know exactly what God would have them to do. In 1 Chronicles 12 we find a description of the sons of Issachar: “They were men who understood their times and knew what Israel should do.” I want to be very quick to say, I don’t think any Christian should try to pinpoint the date of Christ’s return. He said in Matthew 24:36, “No man knows the hour or the day,” but He also said in that same passage that there will be signs that would precede His return. He said, “When you see these things, begin to take place (Luke 21), look up, for your redemption draws near.”

Jesus said these signs would be like the labor pains that a woman experiences before she gives birth. Right now we’re seeing signs that are increasing in frequency and intensity, and I believe they’re signaling the Lord’s return.

James:

I also think it is a call to Christians to be bold and clear in their witness and not allow the light to be hidden or the salt to lose its effect. It’s not a time for us to stand down or step back, but rather to stand up together. Would you agree?

Robert:

I agree. That’s one of the downsides of talking about Bible prophecy. It leads many Christians to a fatalism that says, “Well, the world is going to end. Christ is coming back. I can’t do anything about that.” We should welcome Christ’s return, but we also should be standing up and pushing back against the evil that is enveloping our world right now.

Your ministry has a perfect balance of being that salt, that preservative that restrains against evil, but at the same time sharing the light of Christ both through our words and through our deeds. We’re not to do one or the other (salt or light), we are to be both salt and light, and that’s a balance every Christian needs to learn.

James:

As Christians in a free country, we have the privilege and responsibility to wisely and with understanding choose our leaders. Christians seem to have opted out of the process of selecting qualified, capable men and women of character as our representatives to lead. That’s one of the most foolish acts I have ever seen.

Robert:

John Jay, the first Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court, said, “Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers,” and it’s our “duty” and “privilege … to select and prefer Christians for their rulers.” For Christians to squander this tremendous opportunity, I think is a sin against God. In the Old Testament it was the king who decided the spiritual direction of the nation. If it was a godly king, God blessed the nation. If it was an ungodly king, God cursed the nation.

You didn’t get to vote for king back in the days of Israel. But today we have that opportunity. This means every time we go into the voting booth we are either casting a vote for righteousness or for unrighteousness.

If evangelical Christians, conservative Catholics and people of faith would come together and vote not for Republican or Democrat values, but for godly values, we could in the short term turn this nation around.

James:

Samuel Rodriguez was right when he said, “It’s not the agenda of the elephant or donkey, it’s the Lamb’s agenda.” What he’s talking about is Kingdom life, where Christ is our King, and we share His standards with all would-be kings, representatives and all who select them.

I don’t see compromise when we join with other people for those biblical convictions of pro-life, pro-faith, pro-family, pro-marriage as God designed it (the first institution the Lord gave between a man and a woman), and we stand for that together with others who agree and understand the preciousness of all life.

Salt preserves the precious. What’s more precious than life? What’s more precious and helpless and in need of protection than life in the womb? We need to come out from under cover and become the “shining city set on a hill.”

Robert:

I applaud your efforts in bringing Christians together. We may differ on secondary and tertiary issues, but on these issues of religious liberty, life and marriage, we need to come together. I believe there is a concerted effort right now to deprive people of faith of their religious liberty. The secular progressives are coming after us. As Benjamin Franklin said, “Either we hang together, or we will hang separately.”

The single greatest issue in 2016 is going to be the issue of religious liberty. Every candidate that I talk to, that’s the question I have for them: Are they going to be willing to take whatever stand is necessary to preserve the rights of Christians that our forefathers gave their life’s blood to provide for us?

James:

The best way to overcome evil is with Christ’s righteousness — not self-righteousness or religious pretense, but a real commitment to God as Father, Christ as our Savior, to one another as family, and to love those who may even be seen as enemies of truth, because it is the truth that sets us free.

Every time I hear you, you are saying, “Let’s be in Christ and let Christ be in us who we profess Him to be.” If people can see the beauty of commitment to God, commitment to marriage, commitment to responsibility, and to truth, they will see freedom in action and they will see Christ lifted up. Then He will draw them in. We must lift Christ so high through our commitment to God and to the commission He gave us that people can see the positive, profound effect it has on everything in the culture.

Robert:

Ultimately this is a spiritual battle we’re in, and the only way we’re going to turn the world around is one life at a time by introducing people to the power of Jesus Christ to transform their lives. We do that by our own witness and a transformed life.

The apostle Paul wasn’t just doing one thing at a time. While he was busy preaching Christ and lifting Christ up, he spent two years entangled with the Roman legal system fighting for his rights as a Roman citizen. Too many Christians don’t understand: You have to multitask as a Christian. You have to on one hand be pushing back evil and fighting for the rights we have as Christians and Americans, but at the same time you have to show the loving compassion of Jesus Christ.

I know you’ve had Dr. Erwin Lutzer on LIFE Today. A couple of years ago Erwin called me after he read my book Twilight’s Last Gleaming and said, “You know, Robert, when you and I were in seminary, we were told the only job of a pastor was to preach the Word of God and leave all of this other stuff to other people.” He said, “I still believe that’s our primary task, but if we don’t do these other things as well, we may no longer have the freedom to preach the Gospel.”

James:

When Paul was talking about “the last days” to Timothy, he said, “Be instant in season and out of season.” Whatever season it is, whatever challenges we face, we are to be a consistent faithful witness and preach the Word. This is the hour for Christians to reveal the nature of Jesus as clearly as the enemy of truth is revealing the terrible nature of the destroyer, the deceiver, the thief, the robber and the murderer.

Robert:

If your goal as a Christian is peace, prosperity, pleasure and the avoidance of pain, then these are terrible days in which to live. But if your goal like the apostle Paul is to share Christ with as many people as possible, there’s never been a better time to be alive and a Christian than now.

In Philippians 2, Paul said, “In the midst of this crooked and perverse generation, you are to be children of light holding forth the Word of life.” Remember who was on the throne when Paul wrote those words. Nero was the emperor, the man we’re told used Christians as human torches to light up his garden. His culture was a much more decadent anti-Christian culture than even the one in which we are living. Paul said, this is a tremendous opportunity to share the light of Jesus Christ because the darker the background, the brighter the light. As this world becomes increasingly dark, the hope of the gospel shines that much more brightly.

James:

I am filled with hope. Christ in us is the hope of glory. He said, “If we will rend our hearts (not our garments) and get our hearts right with Him, He will pour out the former and latter rains, and He will make up for the years the locusts have eaten.” America could still be, even as a nation, a “shining light” and bless other nations of the world.

Robert:

I believe it is so important that we not be despondent and despairing. Many people say, “Your book Countdown to the Apocalypse sounds so scary.” Not at all. The word apocalypse means “the unveiling”; it refers to the unveiling of Jesus Christ in all of His glory. This is a message of hope, not of despair.

James:

People ask, “When is Jesus coming?” He is coming for a church that is adorned in His glory. He’s coming for a bride that is as bright and shining and beautiful as He is before He comes. That’s who He is coming for!

Robert:

I agree 100%. We don’t know when He’s coming, but we do know this – either He is coming, or we are going, but the end is near for all of us, and we better be ready!

Print Friendly, PDF & Email

Like the article? Share it with your friends! And use our social media pages to join or start the conversation! Find us on Facebook, Twitter, Parler, Instagram, MeWe and Gab.

Inspiration
Sleep Well
James Randall Robison
More from The Stream
Connect with Us